Euphoric budgets

The NFC Award and the 18th Amendment are at the root of soaring revenues for the federating units

Editorial June 16, 2024


Sindh and Punjab unveiled their budgets of Rs3.056 trillion and Rs5.4 trillion respectively, promising a staggering allocation for development. The estimates paint an equation of euphoria as both the provinces seem to be in the comfort zone of receipts: Punjab boasts a cash increase of 36% from the federal pool, and Sindh has catalogued a carryover balance of Rs55 billion. While the NFC Award and the 18th Amendment are at the root of soaring revenues for the federating units, what’s desired is stability and an unshaken implementation of allocations to make a difference.

Punjab is set to collect Rs472 billion in taxation, a 19% increase from last year, as it projected a development layout of Rs842 billion, carrying a foreign aid component of Rs106.167 billion. The province, however, assured that it has a 100% cash cover for the annual development plan. Its focus on agriculture with Rs65.6 billion brings with it a special component of Rs30 billion for new tractors as well as 7,000 tube-wells converted on solar panels with a cost of Rs9 billion. Likewise, it promises a special incentive of Rs4 billion for Roshan Gharana scheme and Rs5 billion for tourism. Last but not least, Rs65 billion have gone to education, which will see a debut school meal plan with a cash injection of Rs500 million, and Rs128.6 billion for the dilapidated health sector.

So is the case with Sindh which has seen status quo in vogue for the last three decades with the same political dispensation. A corresponding glance suggests that the province has not kept pace with development, as surplus funds sit in the treasure trove along with a new allocation of Rs959 billion. Yet, it is a beneficiary of revenues to the tune of 62% from federal transfers, followed by 22% from its own receipts. This is why it has taken a lead in announcing a hike in salary by 30% for government employees and in pensions by 15%, apart from raising minimum wage to Rs37,000 per month. The contestable education and health sectors have been allocated Rs454 billion and Rs300 billion respectively, with fingers crossed on their judicious execution.


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